Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in the country last evening for a two-day state visit. Jinping's visit follows President Paul Kagame's visit to China last year. It marks the first ever visit to Rwanda by a Chinese head of state. Over the last decade, relations between the two countries have been growing with China supporting several development projects in Rwanda. Below, we bring you a list of things that you need to know about Rwanda-China relations.
Decades of friendship
In November this year, Rwanda and the People's Republic of China will celebrate 47 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The two countries started bilateral ties only after a decade of Rwanda's independence from Belgium.
In January this year, Rwanda and China signed an economic and technical cooperation agreement, which saw the Chinese government pledge 200 million RMB YUAN (about US$ 32 million) that would go straight to the extension of IPRC-Musanze and the drilling of 200 boreholes among other projects. Upon completion, IPRC-Musanze would have the capacity to enroll 1500 s from 560 diploma students and from 180 to 400 short-course trainees. The 200 boreholes will provide water to the communities in 11 districts and it will fully serve approximately 300 to 1500 people per borehole with potable water in selected area.
Agriculture and rural dev't
China's support to Rwanda is not new. The economic giant has recently pumped US$60 million into Rwanda's agriculture sector and rural development programmes, with an additional $20 million channelled into solar projects to bring electricity to schools and health centres.
China is currently helping upgrade one of Kigali's hospitals increasing its capacity from 140 to 1,356 beds.
Chinese language in Rwanda
It is nine years since the establishment of the Confucius Institute at the University of Rwanda, which teaches the Chinese language and the country's culture. As of today, there are 15 teachers at the school and over 4900 registered students. Apart from the headquarters of the Confucius Institute at the University of Rwanda, there are 13 in various campuses of the university, local middle schools, Chinese-funded enterprises and institutions and other places all over country.
As part of China's engagement with Rwanda, the Asian economic giant takes more than 40 students to their country for further education where they fully sponsor the students for the entire duration of their studies.